Norwegian starlet must be careful when deciding who to join.
The past two months have seen an exciting 16-year-old from Stromsgodset named Martin Odegaard embark on a well publicised world tour as a host of top clubs host him with the hope of snaring his signature.
It must be thrilling for a boy of such a young age to know these clubs are interested in you, but rather than the pressure being on the interested parties to sign him, the pressure is on him to make the right call.
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The likes of Liverpool, Barcelona, Ajax, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Arsenal and Real Madrid have all taken an interest – and in some cases taken him on a tour of their facilities – in the hope that he will opt to link up with them, but it’s not that long ago that the same kind of hype was being afforded to somebody else.
Back in 2004, a Ghanaian-born American kid called Freddy Adu was causing a storm as he became a star for MLS side D.C. United at the same age as Odegaard. Despite a handful of appearances, his abilities became the subject of much speculation as a host of European giants looked set to scramble for his future.
Benfica were the lucky winners, landing his services, but loans across the bowels of European football has now seem his stock fall at an alarming rate. Earlier this year he partook in a failed trial with Blackpool – a team that couldn’t even field a full squad of 18 at the beginning of the campaign, only to pitch up in Serbia for Jagodina.
To date, he has still only made one substitute appearance for his new club as the season reaches its halfway point.
Adu will obviously be the most pertinent example of youthful talent gone awry, but there are plenty of others, let’s not forget that David Bentley was at one point viewed as the natural successor to David Beckham, and look where he is now!
Odegaard will undoubtedly have good advisers around him, but at 15 it is easy to get carried away with yourself. You’re still developing as a person as well as a player, and he will currently have very little life experience to draw upon to help him make his decision.
One wrong move is all it takes, and his career may not ever get off the ground, and if he is as talented as reports will have you believe, then that would be a huge shame to not fulfil it.
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